Hello, and welcome to the newsletter.
This week we have 7 stories, including Snapchat’s new group video calling feature - it’s a party on your phone - a useful jargon buster from Carat Global, how live-streamed shopping could be the next big thing, and what not to say at The Masters.
Snapchat has unveiled a new group chat feature, where up to 16 people can talk to each other at the same time, with video. It’s a direct copy of a feature that the HouseParty app introduced last year, and being Snap,there are funky sticker and AR effects too. It’s part of a broader trend for social apps to let people do things together, creating shared experiences (see also the HQ trivia game app), and you can see this helping to bring back some lapsed users, if their friends start inviting them to chats. (Expect a Facebook version in a few months!)
Snapchat’s first TV ad
This TV ad plays in the idea of Snapchat as a camera - and is a breezy skip through lots of the features. But… Many people will be asking ‘why do I find this all so unintuitive and hard to do?’ It’s a bit like seeing someone playing around on a guitar, and knowing that it looks great, but that you’d have trouble actually doing that yourself.
A useful jargon buster from Carat Gobal
Looking at different types of data (1st party - 3rd party) and more!
For the first time ever the number of apps in the iOS app store fell
It’s not quite the ‘app-ocalypse’, as it’s a small fall, and the real story is that it’s due to dormant apps being removed, and more apps falling foul of app store regulations and being classed as spam. Meanwhile the number of apps in the Android app store rose 30% last year, which suggests that companies are still making them, at least for Android users. More, I think, it’s a sign of how active Apple is in policing its ecosystem, while Android is much more laissez faire.
Target uses a voice coupon on Google Home
A really interesting use of smart speakers. Google Home speaker users had to say ‘Spring Into Target’ to their devices, to receive a $15-off discount when they made a voice order for something from Target when buying with the Google Home. It is basically a promo to get people to use voice ordering for the first time, and it’s an innovative use of the technology. It’s also an interesting idea for how you could use other media like press in conjunction with smart speakers.
A new idea from China - Shop Shops
Shop Shops is a new company from China that is essentially a shopping channel live streamed from an actual store, or if you watch YouTubers, a ‘Haul Video’ done live in a store which you can get involved with. Viewers can see the hosts in a physical store, talking about what they are buying, and also buy with them. Given the low cost of streaming video, it’s something that could be copied pretty quickly - for example how about watching someone shopping for new Star Wars toys?
To get an idea of how big a deal this is in China read this: A Chinese influencer Zoe Zhang live-streams on the Alibaba site Taobao, getting 40,000 viewers a week. Zhang shows off a new product every week, which she buys wholesale from the manufacturer and then sells on to her fans.
& finally - something to look out for at The Masters
The organisers of this weekend’s golf tournament in Augusta have reportedly banned fans from shouting ‘Dilly Dilly’, a catch phrase used in Bud Light ads.
Anyone caught using it will be ejected. There is a long history of sports events getting tough with the crowd promoting brands - remember the Dutch fans who wore branded shorts to a World Cup game - but this seems harder to police, and I’d imagine fans will have lots of fun with this, and other brand memes and promotions during this summer’s events.